On March 10th, I asked this simple question on my Facebook wall “When it comes to art, WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?”
Below are the answers of over 100 artists that shared their advice. Enjoy!!
Just make it, dont worry about anyone liking it.
“Don’t make the work something it isn’t.”
Judith Peck Price
Your work reasonably so you can be in a lot of collections.
Make art because you love making it, not because you expect to sell it!
Just continue to make it! We are going to continue to buy it! It gave me a kind of confidence.
Eulalio Fabie de Silva
The ole cliche’—just be yourself.
Walk to the beat of your own drum.
Jia Zhou Artist
Why you cannot use your imagination?
Diana Leviton Gondek
Have it be your work not others. Immediate acceptance doesn’t mean lasting art.
Renee LaVerne Rose
1) Become very proficient in knowing the business side of the art world.
2) Follow your own muse.
“When you’re struggling, copy a few pieces by your favorite artists, there are no better teachers than the masters.” That nugget got me into grad school.
If you are afraid to suck at something, you will never try anything new. (That was actually my advice to someone else, but I live by it too!)
Failure is not an option!
1) What marks will you leave on this paper, this canvas, this world? What risks will your lines take and what will you learn from that? (What I ask my students)
2) Make your “failures” your biggest opportunities for growth and learning. (What I tell my students based on something a drawing professor once told me. He said, “you are not afraid to fail, and that is why you make those failures your biggest successes” I will never forget that. )
When I was a kid, I was painting a picture of windmills. My art teacher walked by and studied it. He said, “What if those windmills where lifting off into space?” That more than anything introduced me to all the possibilities of art as a means for expression, story telling and philosophy.
What a great teacher.
Carlos J. Duncan
There’s no right answer in art, only options.
A small selection: 1. Well, it’s obvious you’re just going to get married – we don’t understand why you’re in school at all (said by painting teacher at U of Cincinnati) 2. why don’t you go back to the English department (said by drawing teacher, UC) 3. Absolutely no comment (apropos of work about disability, said – well, not said) by painting teacher at SAIC. 4. There’s no way we can sell work like that (in re images of people with disabilities, said by several dealers). They all infuriated me, while making me have to be very clear about what I was trying to do, and why.
Just do it…….love it….
Lauren Levato Coyne
Be a good parent to yourself (Steven Assael).
Eulalio Fabie de Silva
Everyone has their own agenda (or lack of it)…and thus everyone is “right” in their own right. The best advice is the one that fits theirs…
A painting professor told me that I wrote so much better than I painted. I took his advice and got degrees in Art History and still love it today. I also switched to photography, something that has given me great joy throughout the decades.
L Lee Heinsen-Ligocki
Keep painting no matter what the critic says. Its the process of doing that makes you evolve into an artist.
The only critique I got that made me cry was by Monroe Denton at SVA. He told me I couldn’t draw and to go spend a year studying the human figure. As someone who thought pretty highly of my drawing skills I wanted to dismiss him, but I asked some people I respected their opinion and they said it would make me a better artist. So I did it, and he was right.
Micah James Zayner
Your art sucks.
Terry L. Adams
Be true to yourself, be passionate, and share it with the world.
L Lee Heinsen-Ligocki
The statement from one of my mentors and friends Judy Betts, nationally known watercolorist. Do art (paint, draw) every day..it doesn’t matter if it is successful…you will develop into a great painter thru your experimentations. The worst one was by a classroom teacher….”I don’t like your style…you’ll never be an artist.” He was arrogant to everyone except those who bought art.
When you receive criticism that hurts, make a painting that is better than any critic can comprehend
Eulalio Fabie de Silva
One can be as stubborn as stain on your white couch…and not listen to criticism at all and just being yourself is art also, but if one would dilute one’s art and rely mainly on what “experts” say then it is not-so-strong of an art other than a populist kind of art (not to be confused with pop art)…
Be yourself in your in your life, in your art and in everything you do!
Never Give Up.
Best advise received and given: To create art that has the power to feed our culture… 1. Hone your skills — constantly push ourselves to new levels; explore, pursue excellence in our work–make lots of it. 2. Submit your work to be judged by others–earn the right to be seen and heard. 3. Repeat steps one and two ad infinitum.
Take exquisite care of your health.
Endurance. Perseverance. Persistence.
First you learn how to start an image, then you spend years learning how to make the image, and then at last you learn how to finish an image. My wonderful first painting teacher.
Create from what you know.
Acknowledge setbacks and MOVE ON.
Art is beauty that comes from the heart;it comes in the heat of the moment; art expresses your personality through vision and imagination; it is a priceless keepsake inside of you and it never wants to hide.
You don’t learn anything new when you’re the one talking.
“Have no fear of perfection-you will never reach it” Dali
Do it and see what happens.
You don’t have to tell me they are fucking, I can see that they are fucking.
Michael Jon Skura
“Passion without discipline is sentimentality”-Jiddu Krishnamurti
Go back in the studio and work. Repeat.
Sculptor to find my own voice….
I told myself once, before starting my very first sculpture, “I am going to create the things that I find interesting today, the very things I would want in my yard!” With the understanding that “what other people think” or “might think” would never be a determining factor in my creative process or vision. If they love it then cool, if they hate it I hope they loose good sleep over it tonight! Ever since I’ve been allowed to love what I do for a living! For that I am greatful.
Israel IzZy Carranza
Do it and keep making it
Be true to your inner self
“I don’t care about anything else, it’s all about the work.” Ann
You can’t please everybody.
Eulalio Fabie de Silva
ce ne est pas une pipe
When making imagery what is general to everybody is specific to no one
There is no shortage of paint
Tracy Ostmann Haschke
Quiet your inner censor and go for it!
Go to your room and make art- Fred Babbs
Your Daddy is rich and your Ma is good lookin’
Paint what you feel, not what you see!
L Lee Heinsen-Ligocki
One of my favorite quotes. By playwright Henry Miller “Paint as you like and die happy”. It changed my objective on why i should paint. Read Paintings of Henry Miller. ” Paint as you like and die happy “. I have used it in my classes to inspire discouraged artists.
The return is on the long run, not on the short end because there is no paved road in the arts.
Don’t think just do
Herman van Bergen
Recently I was reading about Julian Schnabel’s early years in New York in the mid-late 70’s. He hung out with a crowd of painters that included Brice Marden. Marden got drunk one night and started harassing Schnabel endlessly. By the end of the night he had almost succeeded in picking a fight with the younger artist. After Marden and Schnabel parted ways one of Schnabel’s older friends said “that was the best piece of advice that one artist can give another. You should be proud that he singled you out like that.”
If your work is good enough to sell, it’s a threat to established artist. If it sucks, nobody will pay any kind of attention to you.
Shoot what you love … and find a good marketer!
From my baby sister: Let me think-Let’s not……
Find your personal images – you will never know all they mean – use them everyday and enjoy painting
Advice from my dear friend/dealer Frank Paluch @ Perimeter Gallery. “Jay, you want a nice even ride to the top over the course of your life and never ever compare yourself to others. When you are a old man and still doing what you love, you will have found the ultimate success.” I live by this….. Jayzo
If you want to be an artist you need to be independently rich, marry someone rich, or God help you teach… by Hans Hoffman (one of the Great art teachers). I could not find the exact quote, but that is the gist of it.
The chairman of my MFA committee told me that the best artists only produced really good pieces about one in four attempts, so give yourself some slack. He also said that when starting a new series or medium “Be prepared to be bad for awhile” those took the pressure off.
Be definite, be clear, paint what your all about.
Focus on the work.
Market and recognitions have nothing to do with the QUALITY and true value of your work. Every artist should know his or her’s MAGNITUDE as an artist. It has nothing to do with external factors. It is all internal.
Barry M. Messer
Have little or no expectations in making a living as an artist one of my teachers told me in 1972-73. Maybe I should’ve been a lawyer instead. I’m around more positive people these days
Just do it for the love of it and it will come out beautiful!!!
Just keep on doing it, even if you fall down. Get back up no matter how hard it is to do so. Dance to your own time and place.
Hire a professional to take your images for your for grants. They are 90% of your application. Once I saw the images from winning grants from a 10 year period, I was blown away and felt stupid. You really do not know what you are up against.
Painters paint and sell paintings or try to…Paul Georges
“Fear motivates” -Richard Williams, animation master. Signed and said to me at a book signing in NYC.
Also, ‘draw lines, young man, from life or from memory. Draw lines’.
“Don’t give it a future” Xavier Toubes, ceramic professor
Be authentic. The business of art is equally important.
I am totally aware of my own MAGNITUDE as an artist. Regardless of other people said. It has nothing to do with the market and recognitions. I know what my work is all about. I totally accept my own worth and totally happy about my work.
The technique I teach you will flow into art
“Be generous.” – Paul Klein No artist is successful on his/her own. It’s important to remember that we’re a part of a community and we get what we give.
Michael Klaus Schmidt
A friend and fellow artist was reading a book about some topic, and I asked how that person would incorporate the ideas into his art. He told me that he had no intention of coming up with any sort of plan, and if the ideas were worthwhile, they would end up in the art regardless.
Something else that I like to keep in mind is that everyone is so quick to say “Take criticism with a grain of salt.” I think it’s equally if not more important to take praise with a grain of salt as well. It’s dangerous to become too confident and comfortable in what we do. Being too self-congratulatory discourages growth and discovery.
Maria Chuy Soto
I still remember once in HS when I was upset and ready to erase my mistake and my HS art teacher told me that ‘there are no mistakes in art, only new possibilities’, I agreed with him
Deirdre A. Fox
This is your work? It looks nothing like your work… (Nothing wrong with experimenting)
“Never deny the talent”… said by me and I’m sure many others. Its all about appreciating others and what they have to offer and allowing your competitors be part of your success. You push each other along, learn from each other, acknowledge influence.
Marcel Duchamp stopped painting at the age of 22. And said he could teach a monkey how to paint. After you pick up a technique. You become so repetitive. Artists today don’t even want to be call painters
Feelings don’t make good art necessarily, you can make good art totally without feelings quicker than you can make any art based on feelings.
I tell my students “expect to make mistakes all the time. All of the best artists sucked at first.” they like that…and to me when Theaster Gates said “Remember why you make.”
Bruce A. Niemi
Don’t give up!
Embrace your mistakes and just be yourself in all you do –
Transcend the idiom.
Paula P. Martinez
What would you do and where would you be with out having art
“A lot of anything looks cool.” And “Work your ass off.”
Richard De Pirro
“Listen to Pavarotti have great passion and paint from the heart ” (George Barford)
Produce, produce, produce!!!!!: John Laska my High School art teacher.
Stan Brackhage- The great abstract filmmaker always said “Success in the arts is survival” You can read that two ways.
“I dont want to see work you made five years ago. I want to see new, now. There are no excuses to not create. I know what you are capable of.”
Reed W Kirst
Good artists create, GREAT Artists steal!;-)
Corinne D. Peterson
“Follow the light!”
Keep humble and stay on your grind for the fire of passion of learning new skills to change and shape old ideas into new ones ! For your never to old to learn new old tricks to adopt into your own ideas ! Other words … Fresh look … Old ideas becoming new again with a twist!
Gorgeous by heart
A haiku from a couple of years agao:
To look back and see
how far not stopping takes one:
simple but profound.
Anne Farley Gaines
At a critique in college, a much-remembered and quoted professor said “do what belongs to you.”. He was concerned that sometimes students would not recognize the strengths of their own style — what was emerging already in their work– and would go off on experimental tangents that took them away from the CORE of who they really were. This was not to put down experimentation — it is necessary — but it was to make an art student/emerging artist see the value of what was beginning to ripen in them and to expand on it.
Be true to thyself. When you create, you are that much closer to the Divine. Don’t chase it, let it come. All day, every day, twice on Sundays.
Your art is worth something, don’t give it away.
Make more, read more, and talk to more people about it than everyone else. That’s my advice.
Learning predicated by failure is the best learning experience one can get by creating art …
A good artist has to make a lot of shit- Roger Blakely
Be nice to people
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Life is a series of happy accidents.
The best and simplest from a fellow family member that is an artist as well. “Be honest.” When I let it all out, stopped hiding, everything changed. Becoming honest in spite of fear, the millions of artists possible fears; no easy task.
Don’t try to make masterpieces…just leave evidence.
You are not making bombs….just paint
Don’t just do something, stand there.
It’s only paint.
Oswego Visual Arts
“The artists is the child who survived.”-Linea Christina Skura
You gotta make a whole lot of bad art before you can make any good art- William Harsh
Be yourself! Don’t copy anyone
There is only one you.get in touch w/your Real Self and be original. meditation helps
Paul B. McBride
I’ll know it if i ever see it!
Finding out who you are by painting – looking carefully at your own work – you true self will emerge